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Sleuth 17/10/2008

Reader beats Traffic Wardens, Bluu awning confusion, Love Saves the Day - what's going on? Plus BBC and the Salford shootings and meat in space

Published on October 17th 2008.

Sleuth 17/10/2008

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.

Traffic Wardens too slow with brush
Sleuth got a great story from a reader who took on the traffic wardens and won. He told Sleuth: "I parked on double yellows which were broken up and faded and got ticketed. I appealed to the City Council, they dismissed the appeal and it went to the Parking Tribunal. I obtained, through the Freedom of Information Act, a works order that showed the council ordered the yellow lines to be repainted approximately five days after I got ticketed. The Council still would not back down. However I successfully appealed the ticket and got a positive decision this week. The Tribunal found that the yellow lines were badly faded and were broken up at the time I was ticketed and so the restrictions were not enforceable. Their decision was based on the pictures taken by the Traffic Warden themselves." Sleuth says hurrah.

Awning give-away at Northern Quarter bar
Sleuth was captivated by this offer from Bluu, that little bit of Deansgate Locks washed up in the Northern Quarter. They've emailed this message out: 'On Wednesday we are holding an exclusive Bluu Christmas Preview with free canopies'. Sleuth thinks those canopies might be a bit chewy, especially the plastic ones

Love Saves the Day but not the shop
Sleuth is getting reports that the resurrected Love Saves the Day (LStD) has collapsed again. He’s not had his calls returned, no-one it seems has, but the Deansgate (the best) and the Thomas Street branches are closed. Dale Street has a sign saying it will open next Tuesday. Sleuth thinks it raises the question again of why can’t the city centre maintain any really decent indie deli? Are Mancs philistines when it comes to buying top food for home? Do the apartment dwellers find Tesco and Sainsbury’s and the Co-op provide enough choice? Or is LStD too expensive and too limited in range? Or is there something else going on, rows in the company perhaps?

BBC proud of Salford crime
Sleuth hears from a mole about a snippet from the BBC in-house mag Ariel (Ariel 07.10.08). This was on the Green Room diary page and called ‘City with no name’. It was about a spat over an incident in Salford reported on BBC Radio Manchester. To quote the story: ‘the BBC News Channel kept changing any references of Salford to Manchester which prompted this note from a (BBC Radio Manchester) newsreader at the station: ‘Salford is not in Manchester. It’s a city in its own right.’’ Bless, a touching example of local pride. And the incident? It was a shooting. Sleuth thinks Salford definitely needs to stress its own distinct identity through its shootings. After all these aren’t second-class shootings compared to Manchester: Salford’s shootings are just as good, why some of them might even be better.

Rent blues
Sleuth was contacted by this confused punter after the excellent Buy Art Fair in Urbis. Wandering around the event he came across this amusing and intelligent post-modern work by Daniel Harris. Laden with irony it references the property slump and international financial crisis with vivid colour and brilliant clarity. Our man liked it so much he called the number and his bid was accepted. Oh dear. He’s now in proud possession of a small retail unit. They wouldn’t let him have the sign.

A rose would be a rose.....
Sleuth has been amused by the change of name from Pizza Hut to Pasta Hut which started on Manchester’s Cross Street - although our writer Lynda Moyo failed to see the funny side, click here. This apparently reflects a desire to ‘give a feeling of freshness in product and image, to more honestly reflect what we do’. Sleuth liked this ‘honesty’ approach. He’s wondering if other pizza chains will adopt the idea, maybe Pizza Express could change its name to the Middle Class Pizza Company. Croma could then become the Even More Middle Class Pizza Company. Meanwhile the Stretford Arndale McDonalds is all set to change its name to Give Up Hope All Who Enter Here. Allegedly.

Vacuum-packed meat
News from the Museum of Science and Industry about Manchester Science Festival (25 October – 5 November). As part of the educational programme a scientist will visit a Salford school this week to excite the kids with experiments. The scientist is Steve Pearce who is manufacturing the smell of space in his Ipswich laboratory as part of a NASA programme. Evidence from spacesuits suggests the smell of space resembles hot metal or fried steak. Sleuth was intrigued by this and using his trusty telescope examined the night sky and found conclusive proof that this is indeed the case – although he thinks the smell will be more that of raw steak - click here.

The Modern fails to understand the web
After a reader’s complaints about a member of staff following Gordo’s review of the Modern at Urbis on Thursday – click here – the man in question wrote this on Confidential (we’ve tidied up the spelling): ‘Mat says, ‘Hello, I'm very sorry to hear that you and your lady friend had your evening spoilt by the clattering and general grumpiness. By way of an apology I'd very much like to invite you back for a meal on me (no shouting included I promise). My name is Mat I'm the company director over at the Modern, you can contact me on..' He then gave his email address. Sleuth wonders whether he’ll regret this admirable gesture when he gets the five hundredth email requesting a meal.

Expensive (deer, geddit?) sex
Sleuth loves desperate press releases. He loves the ones which tease and flirt with the jaded hack desperate for any copy. But one from a staid old National Trust property this week took him aback. This was the message from Tatton Park about, 'the Autumn Deer Rut, a spectacular natural event’, inviting people to watch. Sleuth isn’t sure about sentences such as: ‘the male deer necks begin to swell up and thicken.’ Although sentences such as ‘they urinate and wallow in mud hollows – the pungent scent being (apparently) very attractive to the females’ seems familiar: reminds him of his last visit to Fridays bar on Oldham Street.

Untidy Private Eye
Sleuth loves it when a local gets recognition nationally, especially in the magnificent satirical mag Private Eye, which we at Confidential don't mind shamelessly ripping off. Thus the lovely Mr Scruff, DJ, tea-blender and cafe owner was outted on Pseuds Column which is devoted to exposing purple over-the-top prose for this in the Big Issue: "That track started when I decided to switch on a 30-year-old synth and throw lemons at the keyboard to see what would happen." But Sleuth thinks they missed a trick for an entry on their Dumb Britain column as well. Mr Scruff includes instructions for making a cup of tea on the box of his tea-blend. If people don't know how to make a cup of tea they really shouldn't be allowed out.

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51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

paulOctober 17th 2008.

Yes - horrible place! Actually I think that a long time ago that bar used to be called Saturdays... imaginative!

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Ali - Hear hear to that motion, a great selection of teas, nice music, great food, no pretentiousness.......

paulOctober 17th 2008.

Yes - horrible place! Actually I think that a

burt CodeineOctober 17th 2008.

I'd love an Einstein's cafe in Manchester. The breakfasts in Berlin are bloody sublime....a riot of fruit, cold cuts, breads to fill a wedding platter and all for the price of a pair of McKack burgers...with religious coffee parked into the same order there simply is no comparison in our own fair city....it might be a cultural thing (generally our high streets and city casual eating experiences are led by accountants in the captial) but it's right up there on me wish list alongside a modern transport system...god I hope of too much :(

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

ooooh that's true...then go back for lunch and have a trof burger :)

ktfairyOctober 17th 2008.

Cafe North used to do a good eggs benedict on a Sunday, not sure if it is still on the menu - but if not the cooked breakfast are top notch

Brunch QuestOctober 17th 2008.

Ended up at Cafe Rouge, spurned on my convenience and the reminiscent memory of a gorgeous brunch at Cafe de Flore last month. Café Rouge was really quite average - Eggs Benedict with very thin ham and on a slice of toast rather than a muffin - but it wasn't the worst I've had although I’ve never seen poached eggs as small. Mrs BQ was less than enamoured by the choices afforded to someone who is pregnant - and ended up with an 'off-the-menu' toast and jam after the miniscule £2.75 croissant was sent back. We must try Trof or the Northern Cafe last time - KRO on Oxford Rd is a little to ‘Student’ for our Brunch Tastes. Thanks to all for the help though.

Jonathan SchofieldOctober 17th 2008.

Avo - yes you do, bill me

KellyOctober 17th 2008.

Luke Skywalker - brilliant assessment of Friday's on Oldham Street. I suppose I should have heard warning bells when it was recommended to me by someone in The City, further up Oldham Street - if someone could explain the entire Friday's/Sasha's 'hotel' to me I'd be grateful...

johnthebriefOctober 17th 2008.

I think Trof at the Deaf Institute is hard to beat for brunch, especially the "royal brekkie" which is awesome.

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

if you want somewhere casual how about kro? they do a GORGEOUS scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast :)

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

selfridges does good brunch

Chris GibsonOctober 17th 2008.

Brilliant! Congratulations to the reader who deliberately double-parked and then cheated our council out of the fine. When will the looney Town Hall bureaucrats realise that what Manchester really needs is for more people like this, who park anywhere they like regardless of the obstruction or inconvenience caused to others?

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Especially when the Council (part)-owned NCP car parks have had all their staff removed, making them LESS secure than on-street parking (averaging 8-break-ins per day, per car park in Sept.)

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

tenner say's chris is a traffic warden

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Cafe Rouge normally does a good brunch, basket of mini pastries, eggs benedict, fresh glass of juice and a pot of tea...my idea of perfection on sunday. The one down in Spinningfields is pretty good as it's quieter than Deansgate and Printworks

Bingo BagginsOctober 17th 2008.

I feel sorry for traffic wardens really. I mean it must be pretty hard being one. Imagine walking around town and knowing, 100% for sure knowing, that everyone that looks at you hates you.

Red KevOctober 17th 2008.

Gastros had the best eggs benedict in town

Brunch QuestOctober 17th 2008.

Avo....thats JUST what I want. Have tried Zinc before, nice but we were the only ones there from 10.30 til 12 on a Saturday - so not really the livliest of places!

AvoOctober 17th 2008.

Ed, does that mean I get £25??

Luke SkywalkerOctober 17th 2008.

Fridays on Oldham Street is the best way to kickstart any weekend. I won't hear a bad word said about. Nothing better than sipping a Blue WKD with Hans Solo and crashing a Lambert off Chewie outside.

Angel FanOctober 17th 2008.

Stoke the fires Rob and cook us up a Sunday brunch to make the city proud.

ChickOctober 17th 2008.

Maybe the person for promoting free 'canopies' at Bluu was the same one who wrote the menu at the new Crown Plaza restaurant. 'Candid' carrots appear on the menu it seems. Quite what they're so candid about, I have no idea

Brunch QuestOctober 17th 2008.

Never mind LSTD - what Manchester City Centre is missing is somewhere nice to have a relaxed weekend Brunch!

PaulOctober 17th 2008.

Brunch's a really big in France, especially in Paris. Typically what you'll get for between 15-20€ is a set menu consisting of: a huge plate of charcuterie, a salad, choice of eggs, choice of danish, freeflowing coffee + a fruit juice, selection of breads, jams and butter... quite like a good hotel buffet breakfast but without the buffet bit. I think this kind of thing would go down a treat in Manchester... if I hadn't lost all my money in an Icelandic bank I'd set it up straight away

The ModernOctober 17th 2008.

Do we get £25 too for giving you that story? Promise not to put it in an Icelandic bank.

PaulOctober 17th 2008.

Did anyone visit Gastro's? That had great potential I felt to be a fantastic brunch venue - unfortunately two slices of toast and jam cost more than the average family car and the insistence on having five managers on duty everyday (what was with all those tweed jackets and serious faces?) in addition to the staff seemed to have been a key factor in its prompt demise. It's a shame about LSTD on Thomas Street, not only was it a lovely little place but I too was only a couple short of my free coffee! Talking of coffee, I firmly believe that the first place to introduce free-pouring hot beverages will make a killing!

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Malmaison do a Sunday brunch from 12 - 3pm. Not tried it but it's supposed to be a bit of all right.

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

yeah...well in that case i'd give kro a try. not the poshest of places but it will have a lively atmosphere and the foods good

KellyOctober 17th 2008.

Oh, the Britannia on Portland Street...is that why that horrible bar with the flocked wallpaper is there? I wondered about that, why it feels so dirty inside, and why you see the same people that stand outside Sacha's and the Piccadilly...

Ali McGowanOctober 17th 2008.

1. It's water pipes not sewerage pipes. 2. Yes I am a pedant. 3. If the double yellow lines were indeed so badly faded, then fair play for taking on the draconian council ;) 4. I'll go into business with anyone who's interested in setting up a decent tea room. No doilies tho, sorry. Just f'king good cakes!! 5. Love saves the day = good food - but SOOOOOOOO expensive, which is why I only ever shopped there about once a year.

LStDOctober 17th 2008.

Sorry we're closed but we've been sampling the produce that our name suggests and we've all been PROPER off rockers. Aciiid a saiiid drugs are baaaad, if you don't believe me ask your daaaad

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Last year i was awarded a parking ticket by a lovely traffic warden for having an iced over windscreen and therefore failing to correctly display my ticket! I appealed against the ridiculousness sending in my ticket and a picture of it and explaining the situation. This appeal was declined. i then had to fill in two different forms, swear an oath and apply to the magistrate court...This form was returned for being incorrectly filled in and then everyone decided to drop the matter! BRILLIANT WELL DONE EVERYONE!

mark mOctober 17th 2008.

I agree with the comment about the Northern Cafe. I had the eggs benedict there when I needed hangover fodder. Sublime

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Go to the Angel for a great brunch. Prefect poached eggs.

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

northern quarter restaurant does a not bad one, or zinc does brunch on a saturday...it's quite nice actually...

Brunch QuestOctober 17th 2008.

Selfridges? Where abouts? Downstairs in the food hall?

emma graceOctober 17th 2008.

bloody hell scrooge...turn it in will ya...

Brunch QuestOctober 17th 2008.

Never mind parking.... Where can I take my Lady for Brunch in the City?? (thanks!)

JennOctober 17th 2008.

Ali, I'm in-I can make a lovely selection of homebaked cakes and I have my own apron! (Do I need any other qualifications) Ooh this could be like a tea shop co-op!

PeeeelowOctober 17th 2008.

Breakfast,Brunch, Lunch dinner or Tea Destinos (on Pall Mall) is for me........!!!!

burt CodeineOctober 17th 2008.

I also hope of an edit button on here too...I can fix me many splellgn mitsakes

cping500October 17th 2008.

re love lost today. Popping into company house has a wealth of information.

Full up !October 17th 2008.

Actually I have been informed it's "Central perk" not "cafe perk" ...naughty me!

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

Manchester is SORELY missing...1, good tea-rooms2, good brunch venuesBRING PATISSERIE VALERIE TO MANCHESTER!!!

PaulOctober 17th 2008.

Sacha's is part of the awful Britannia empire, famous for allegedly boasting 7 of the ten dirtiest hotels in the UK! Unfortunately they also have their hands on the Britannia on Portland Street and the Adelphi in Liverpool, both of which could be outstanding hotels with the right owners!

AnonymousOctober 17th 2008.

When is someone going to take up the issue of having one's car towed away; but there being no signs around for miles (ok, several streets) to indicate who/where to call, potentially leaving people stranded and vulnerable. Get the whole system reviewed to ensure there is sufficient signage to suitable parking and appropriate safety measures in place, rather than making Manchester city centre a wholly unattractive place to park.

full up !October 17th 2008.

Just had an amazing brekkie at Cafe Perk (Manchester) get down there for a brunch,they opened on Saturday I reckon.Its on Piccadilly approach next door to subway

James ButterworthOctober 17th 2008.

Chris, the problem here is that the council painted the lines in five days after the event. The other problem is that we do not have the jams and snarl ups that say London has, unless roads are closed off for sewage pipe replacement! Also why are there so many restricted areas in the city late on and at weekends.

ancoats girlOctober 17th 2008.

Speaking of parking - what about the WAGS and flash types I see parking on double yellows with disability badges in their sports cars so they can do lunch and go shopping... I wish someone would sort that out!

CubbyOctober 17th 2008.

The trouble with traffic wardens is they're all contracted out and they can only make money by booking people over every little infraction. They need to show a lot more tolerance and understanding.The blue badge situation is beyond a joke, I frequently see see people parking a blue badge car and walking sprightly away. Honestly, these people could at least affect a limp before getting around the corner.

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